Pontardawe Golf Club
A hidden gem with spectacular panoramic views

"Thinking about booking a golfing trip"

Sunday 2nd of February 2014 01:19
Millenium Course Portugal 2014

For many years I've organised golfing weekends and golfing trips away for a couple of days for between eight and twenty golfers.

It all started more than thirty years ago, after sailing around the beautiful Irish coast, a bit like a pub crawl, only difference was, this was a port crawl, sailing to a different port every morning and then sampling the Guinness for the rest of the day. Two yachts, eight boys, fourteen days at a time, Severn years until we had sailed completely around the whole of Ireland to the port it all started in "Kinsale". Then in later years I had a hand in organising fishing trips to Southern Ireland.

I recall making great friends with Des, the manager of a hotel called "Kieran's Folk House" situated in the small fishing village of Kinsale, seventeen miles south west of Cork. One spring evening I decided to give Des a ring and asked if he could accommodate around 16 golfers for a few days in September and could he recommend a few good golf courses where we could book tee off times and play. He replied "that'll be no problem, to be sure, to be sure"

There was however, one condition, he asked me if my golfing colleagues could drink as much as my fishing mates, who'd stayed with him several times previously. My response was instant "you'd better stock up the bar, because these boys could probably drink a lot more"

Sorting out the cost of the hotel was quite funny, haggling over the accommodation price and trying to knock him down, when suddenly that Irish accent burst down the phone "I'll tell what we'll do, it'll be a hundred punts for three nights and we'll make the rest up on the bar, how does that sound" and that was that. He wouldn't even take a deposit off me, he trusted me well enough for me to pay him on arrival.

Booking the golf was quite a chore, trying to book and play on the best courses, booking kind tee off times, on the days we wanted, not to early in the mornings to give us a chance to recover from the night before. Collecting the money from trip members, booking the ferry and paying all the deposits sometimes presented a few headaches. But I've got to say all in all, it was worth it for the golf and fun we had over many years.

We would book an overnight ferry (The Innisfallen) from Swansea to Cork leaving on a Thursday night play golf Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday and catch the overnight ferry home on Monday evening. It was a hard old trip with two full nights drinking on the ferry and three nights in the hotel. By the time you got home on Tuesday morning your kidneys were banging like a drum.

I recall the first Irish trip price being under two hundred pounds, The currency then was Irish punts and you could get a terrific exchange rate against the pound. I remember someone asking me what the exchange rate was and all I could tell them was " you get thirty two extra pints of Guinness for your sterling exchanged"

Over the years I've been lucky enough not to miss a single September Irish trip and they have all been really great memorable trips, playing over forty Irish golf courses and staying in half a dozen or so different towns.

Then in 2013 came the big change, I made a conscious decision not visit Ireland on my yearly golfing pilgrimage. The reasons being, the weather getting wetter and wetter each year with a few days being an absolute total washout. Coupled with the poor exchange rate and the increase in Irish prices, the time had come to go elsewhere.

After much research, we decided to put a trip together for the far warmer climate of Portugal.

We looked at all the options of booking the golf and hotels and decided to put our faith in a company by the name of "Golf Breaks" The best decision we ever made. "Golf Breaks" catered for all our requirements and were a pleasure to deal with. It's always a worry for me booking trips and spending other peoples hard earned cash, that the trip you organise lives up to everybody's expectations. Golf breaks not only achieved this, they excelled in every department.

We booked the flights and hire of clubs at faro airport. It was around £35 cheaper to hire most makes of brand new clubs than it was to take your own. Each set of clubs was there waiting for you with your name tag on it, nothing could be easier.

We settled on staying at a top class hotel, within a very short walking distance of old town Albufeira, which had live sixties music in a lot of the bars. (great for us oldies) The atmosphere was terrific. The hotel presented us with large spacious rooms, each with its own balcony. Full English breakfast, eat as much as you want. We made use of the hotels lovely pool along with its pool side bar. The main hotel bar was really pleasant, plenty of good beer and open till very late.

All airport transfers and transfers to and from the golf courses were included and were spot on any times you agreed with the drivers.

We played three magnificent courses within twenty minutes of the hotel. The tee off times were all after midday which meant you could chill out in the mornings and relax, with no rushing about. Buggies were booked for us all, on the three courses, and the welcome we received was second to none, they really look after you on the courses. It all went like clockwork

The food was fantastic, eat as much as you like in a Chinese restaurant for nine Euros and you could get a pint of Super Bock 5.6% proof for two Euros, Sam Miguel for one and a half Euros (that's over half the price we were paying in Ireland for food and drink)

The big question for me was "Did everybody enjoy themselves and what could we do to better our annual golfing trip next year" to my surprise there was silence to the second part of the question, until somebody piped up and said " there's nothing you can do to better this trip, it's been brilliant"

So guess what ? we've booked exactly trip this year with "Golf Breaks" the same hotel, same courses, only one difference were staying an extra night and playing one extra course.

What can I say about our first golfing trip to Portugal

A huge thank you to "Golf Breaks" for taking all the hard work out of booking a golfing holiday and providing us with a trouble free first class golfing package. Undoubtedly the best organised golfing trip I've ever been on. Vist thier website and book your trip.

http://www.golfbreaks.com/